[Foundation-l] Some paths toward communication improvements

Anthere Anthere9 at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 22 07:33:00 UTC 2007

Florence Devouard wrote:
> The Foundation is pleased to announce the addition of Sandra Ordonez as 
> Communications Manager. Sandy is a public relations specialist living in 
> Tampa, Florida, with prior experience in for-profit and non-profit 
> organizations. Her role will include press relations, written and oral 
> communications, and various other assignments. We are fortunate to have 
> had Sandy approach us about a position, and we are excited to have her 
> start working in the office. Please say hello if you run into her online 
> (her wiki and irc name is "wiki blue") and welcome her to the community.
> Florence Devouard
> Chair of Wikimedia Foundation

First, hi Sandra (or Sandy, or Wiki Blue),

Communication is a area of work where you will have to be working hand 
in hand with community members. So I thought a good way to get in touch 
with them all was to outline a few things on this list. This way, they 
can complete the picture as necessary :-)

The mailing lists you need to be on are
* Foundation-l (this one. Public list - do not put any thing 
confidential here). You need to register yourself
* Internal-l (private list but archived. You need to register but one of 
the list admin will have to approve you)
* Wmfcc-l list (private list of the communication committee. You need to 
register, but one of the list admin will have to approve you).

Overview of lists here: 
(you may of course wish to register other lists)

Wikis on which you may need to have an account
* meta.wikimedia.org (entirely open)
* internal.wikimedia.org (I recommand you bug Angela, Dungodung or 
Delphine to get an account)
* comcom.wikimedia.org (bug Michael Snow to have an account)
* Wikimediafoundation.org (bug Michael Snow to have an account)
* OfficeWikimedia.org (bug Brad)

That should do for a start.

Also try to get a skype account as soon as possible so that we do not 
drain Foundation resources in phone.

Meta is very largely outdated sometimes. Do not fully trust information 
over there :-)
Office wiki is fairly new, so hopefully not outdated yet.


Here is the page about the 

As you may see, it seems the last meeting was quite a while ago. I would 
recommand that a new meeting is organised soon :-)
The chair of that committee is Michael Snow.

The committee is very active in some areas, very inactive in other 
areas. I would say it largely would require new members to join, or an 
active communication process with regards to its activity.

That committee has been divided in several areas 


The first group is the one dealing directly with the press, and in 
charge of press releases. What happens right now is that many many more 
people than these ones are answering the press, this group being rather 
the one dealing with english speaking press, or possibly german press.
What really happens is that many editors in various countries also deal 
with the press. In several europeans countries, we also have local 
associations (generally referred to as Wikimedia NameOfCountry, eg, 
Wikimedia France). In many cases, members of an association deal with 
the press (but this is not mandatory).
I am not certain communication is always good between the different 
languages subgroups answering the press, but overall, we handle things.
There are some languages where we have troubles keeping up with the pace 
of press requests, and I think press needs to be educated and dealt with 
differently (perhaps with more press release. Clarification of various 
FAQ etc...).
Another issue is press releases. We have more and more pain drafting 
them. And the last 3-4 press releases were never send to the press. 
There is a system used by german association (see Akl - Arne Klempert 
about that) to send them semi-automatically, but few take the time to do 
it and/or the press database seems to be outdated. Or whatever. But the 
result is that press releases are NOT send. There is work to do here.

Within this group, Mathias (presroi) makes a fabulous job keeping us 
informed on the publication of various press articles which may be 
relevant to the activity of the committee (mostly english and german 
press. Aphaia often completes in japanese). Typical outcome is to be 
aware of potential PR bombs and react between wrong assumptions 
disseminate in the whole internet.

David Gerard is the main person taking charge of the british press 
requests and does it very well.



Our goddess here is Aphaia. To know more about how translations are 
handled (whether public announcements or internal communication), get in 
touch with her.



Is our ticketing system. Nearly all emails we get goes there and can be 
handled by dozen of volunteers. OTRS is a rather special world. Very 
invisible, but populated by many volunteers who do a critical work. 
Issues are classified in various queues (such as "donation", "legal", 
"press" etc...).
You need to join that place. Your contact there can be Kat (mindspillage 
- also a board member) or I strongly suggest UninvitedCompany.
OTRS can also be a real nightmare, as emails pile up at an amazing rate....


Internal communication

A lot of the internal communication is done through Wikizine (Walter 
publication - contact him) and through the SignPost (a very good 
newspaper on the english wikipedia). See with Flcelloguy or Michael Snow 
the foundator of the paper.
Other internal communication go through the list, meta or 
wikimediafoundation website.
There have been suggestion for the foundation to communicate more 
through the SignPost.
As for the Wikizine, Walter keeps very good track of what is written 


Marketing, promotional material

Elian is historically our most active person in the area, so I suggest 
you contact her as she may be the most knowledgeable person in this 
area. But many others are also working on this, and might just contact 
you on these issues.
Akl is the CEO of the german chapter


Uh, not listed here, but a big new area is probably handling of a 
volunteers dababase for conferences/speech. This is however controversial.


For all non-confidential communication issues, it is best to work on 
meta (public wiki), where editors from all countries can help. Only 
confidential issues (such as for example a press release) should be done 
on private wikis.

There are many people involved in communication issues, and I guess we 
are all happy to benefit from your expertise. A very important point is 
that for most communication issues, it is important to maintain a link 
between the foundation and the community. Do not hesitate to discuss 
here (do not mind the trolls) or on meta, and to make calls for 
participation and support from editors.

My main concerns with regards to communication are these ones right now

* We have troubles handling the huge demands of the press. Not only the 
USA press.  We can not keep up properly with the requests. We need to 
channel these requests. To go beyond simply answering requests one after 
the other and hoping the flow will drop sometimes

* We need to communicate better on what we are and what we do. Stop the 
confusion with various commercial websites. Get it known we are a non 
profit. Which may involve press release, clarification of foundation 
website. FAQ. Publishing the annual report etc...

* Improve the internal communication (community). I think we now provide 
quite a lot of information, but only a limited number of people find 
it... Does that require working more with wikizine ? More with SignPost 
? More translations ? More meetings ? A collective blog ? A weekly 
podcast ? We need to be creative here :-)

Here are some of my thoughts.
Start with joining the lists and the various wikis I suggested above. 
Once you are on internal, you'll get all the emails necessary to contact 
all the poeple mentionned above.

Comments from editors very warmly welcome.

Sandy, we try to make an irc/skype meeting end of the week.



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